Scrunch_Iz: Raising awareness of brain injury and funds for BIAT

August 22, 2020

Brain Injury Awareness Week 2020: Catch up on all the news from Scrunch_Iz, the initiative founded by 11-year-old Izzy in memory of her uncle Brodie.

11-year-old Tasmanian Izzy Elliott is remarkable. A keen dancer, singer and performer, in early 2019, Izzy added sewing to her talents, learnt how to make hair ‘scrunchies’, and started trading under the name Scrunch_Iz.

Scrunch_Iz is not a pocket money scheme. Izzy founded the initiative in memory of her uncle Brodie, using her sewing skills to raise awareness of brain injury and funds for the Brain Injury Association of Tasmania (BIAT).

  • Izzy explains: “I got a sewing machine for Christmas in 2018 and I wanted to do something really special, so I chose to make and sew scrunchies. I chose this charity because it really hits close to my heart due to my uncle Brodie having an Acquired Brain Injury and him passing away from complications around it. He was very special to me because he would always check up on me and make me things in his art classes. I still remember him saying to me 'How's dancing going Izzy?'  I continue to fundraise for BIAT in his memory and to make him proud.”

Izzy’s uncle, Brodie Saville, sustained a brain injury from a non-fatal drowning incident when he was 14 years old. Brain injury from non-fatal drowning is also known as hypoxic brain injury, with damage to the brain caused by a lack of oxygen. Brodie sadly passed away in 2016 at the age of 29.

Izzy and Brodie’s stories highlight two important and often overlooked facts about brain injury that are key to the Brain Injury Awareness Week 2020 theme of Brain Injury in the Community:

  • Brain injury can happen to anyone, anywhere, at any time;
  • Brain injury can have a ripple effect, impacting not only the individual living with brain injury but also their families, friends and the wider community.

This time last year, during Brain Injury Awareness Week 2019, Izzy presented the Brain Injury Association of Tasmania (BIAT) with a cheque for $1,000. With the sale of each scrunchie resulting in a $1 donation, that figure represents A LOT of hair scrunchies and A LOT of sewing. Izzy has advised she will be donating a further $400 to BIAT this year.

For small non-profit organisations like BIAT, donations such as Izzy’s enable the continuation of valuable projects such as the Brain Injury Peer Support Program which are often time-limited due to the nature of project funding. Peer support occurs when people provide knowledge, experience, emotional, social or practical help to each other.

The Brain Injury Peer Support Program was developed as part of a 12-month National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) Information, Linkages, and Capacity Building funded project which was completed in June 2020. BIAT plan to utilise Izzy’s donations to assist in keeping the Program running. Currently there are brain injury peer support groups that meet face-to-face in Hobart, Launceston and Ulverstone, and a state-wide online group that formed during COVID-19restrictions.

Izzy has continued her fundraising initiative, now donating 50% of the sale of her products to BIAT, and has recently expanded her range to include colourful pencil cases ($6-$8) and face masks ($6-$8), along with the ever-popular hair accessories ($3). Scrunch_Iz products come in a rainbow of colours and are available to order by messaging the Scrunch_Iz team (Izzy and her mum, Bianca) via their Facebook Group and Instagram Page.

In keeping with the theme of ‘community’ Izzy’s Scrunch_Iz venture has connected her with other ‘scrunchie’ makers around Australia who are also fundraising for charity. They have created their own supportive community where they share tips and give each other advice. Izzy’s beautiful floral face masks have already been sent to friends in Melbourne; Izzy has hemmed trousers for family and friends for a small fee so she can raise as much money as she can and has been teaching her cousin to sew. With mum, Bianca, also busy behind the scenes Scrunch_Iz is quite the family business.

It is inspirational to witness how, through her kind and generous spirit, Izzy has ensured that her Uncle Brodie is remembered by the Tasmanian community, the community is more aware of brain injury, and the Brain Injury Association of Tasmania is able to continue to support Tasmanian’s impacted by brain injury.

Thank you Izzy!

From top left: Brodie and Izzy; Izzy at her sewing machine; Izzy's face masks;
Izzy teaching her cousin; Scrunch_Iz logo; hair 'scrunchie'

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